7 Tips for Choosing a Neurosurgeon

A Personal Decision

Just knowing that you really need to see a neurosurgeon can be worrying. Your primary care doctor may suspect or have found disease or condition involving your brain, spinal cord, or nerves that could need surgery. How do you look for the best neurosurgeon who is best for you? Here are some crucial factors to keep in mind.

1. Get Referrals

Start with the referral list from your primary care doctor. You can also ask family, good friends, and other doctors for recommendations. Make the effort to research the doctors' credentials and experience on Healthgrades.com. As you shorten your list, call each neurosurgeon's clinic and ask for a consult appointment to meet and interview the neurosurgeon.

2. Research the Neurosurgeon's Credentials

Board certification is one of the most essential factors to look at when you are searching for a neurosurgeon. It tells you that the doctor has the necessary training, abilities, and experience to offer healthcare in neurological surgery. Also, check the neurosurgeon's history of malpractice claims or disciplinary acts. Remember that neurosurgery has the greatest risk for malpractice claims. Claim settlements and arbitration awards may take place for a number of reasons, which should not always reflect adversely on the doctor's professional proficiency or conduct. You may want to use this information to start a dialogue with the doctor about his or her history and specific ability to provide healthcare for you. You can find the neurosurgeon's medical institution, training hospital, qualifications, and malpractice and disciplinary history on Healthgrades.com and state websites.

3. Consider the Neurosurgeon's Experience

Experience matters when you're facing the possible need for surgery on your nerves, nervous system, or brain. The more practical experience a neurosurgeon has with a condition or treatment, the better your outcomes are likely to be. Ask the number of patients with your specific condition the neurosurgeon has treated. If you know you need a specific procedure, ask how many of the procedures the doctor has carried out and learn about complication rates-- complications the doctor has experienced along with your own risk of complications.

4. Consider Gender

It's essential to feel comfortable with your neurosurgeon's gender since you will need to freely discuss personal details. Your own gender is also a crucial consideration when it concerns certain types of neurological diseases and conditions. Neurosurgeons are becoming more skilled in caring for women and men differently. Ask the neurosurgeon about his or her recent training and experience specifically related to your problem and your gender.

5. Research Hospital Quality

Your doctor's hospital is your hospital. Therefore, look at the quality of care at the hospital where the neurosurgeon can treat patients. Hospital quality matters to you because patients at high-quality hospitals have lesser complications and much better survival rates. Do your research! Two hospitals in the same city may report vastly different outcomes. Furthermore, consider whether the hospital's area is vital to you. Consider how frequently you or your family will be making trips back and forth to the hospital.

6. Evaluate Communication Style

Choose a neurosurgeon with whom you are most comfortable discussing and who supports your information needs. When you first meet the neurosurgeon, ask a question and notice how he or she answers. Does she or he welcome your questions and answer them in manner ins which you can understand? Find a neurosurgeon who shows an interest in understanding you, who will consider your treatment preferences, and who will respect your decision-making process.

7. Review Patient Satisfaction Surveys

Reading what other people have to express about a doctor can provide information into how a doctor practices medicine, in addition to how his/her medical practice is worked. Patient satisfaction surveys typically ask people about their experience with scheduling appointments, waiting time times, office environment, and office staff friendliness. You can find out about how well patients trust the doctor, just how much time she or he invests with their patients, and how well he or she answers questions.

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